Antipodean Adventures – Sydney : Tap-on, Tap-off

The Opal card brings you Sydney! Just “top up” and then “tap on” when you get into a bus or train or ferry. At the end of the trip, “tap off” when you leave. In our first adventure, we didn’t “tap on”. At the end of the short ferry ride, we had to “tap off”, and they charged us the maximum fare. Now, we understood the system that easily takes you everywhere in this lovely city by the extensive Sydney Harbor. During our week in Sydney, we “topped up” to the tune of about $50 each – travel money well spent.
When Capt. Cook stopped nearby in Botany Bay, he tried to claim Australia for the Brits but he missed Sydney Harbor, one of the greatest harbors in the world. Some 18 years later, Capt. Phillips showed up and found Botany Bay waterless and soon discovered the estuary that now is Sydney Harbor.
We have enjoyed the varied aspects of this vibrant city.  One afternoon we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House.
That evening, we viewed an amazing multi-media play, The Wider Earth, with actors and puppets taking us on Darwin’s intellectual journey from God to evolution.
Sydney can be hot in the summer, but the ocean beaches are just a “tap on – tap off” trip away. During the Depression, Australia put people to work building many ocean swimming pools, some natural and some Olympic. Many remain and are maintained and used today.

Sydney seems to be a tropical city of flowers by the sea with sailors always skimming the protected waters.  Our hotel in Potts Point was nicely located; we walked through the Royal Botanic Garden many times to get to Circular Quay, the ferry hub of the city, with the majestic Sydney Opera House looming in the background.  We took the ferry and bus several times to lovely white sand beaches – once to Bronte Beach, where we walked to Bondi Beach along a lovely coastal track, and once to Manly Beach.  The latter was particularly crowded on Australia Day, January 26th, with many people picnicking or swimming in the refreshing aquamarine water.

A ferry trip to the zoo gave us a close look at the unique fauna of this long-isolated place.
Sydney is full of friendly, easy-going people.  We’ve met lots of helpful individuals and many interesting travelers.  Our questions about Aboriginal art in museums have always been answered knowledgeably
and enthusiastically.

Tomorrow we head to the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  As the final part of our Australia exp!oration, we hope to bushwalk in canyons and on cliffs while searching for Aboriginal engravings.


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Such a range and variety of photos; thanks. Sure wish we could see The Wider Earth here on San Juan; any likelihood? Eric and I also did tap-on and tap-off recently, in Austria. Maybe some day the US will catch up to the rest of the world?

  2. Thanks for the visual mini vacation this morning. 🙂
    I loved the botanicals and the “undershot” of the penguins swimming! (And the interesting angles of the opera house, and the…) sending love and good cheer!

  3. Lovely shots and seems like a great and multivaried trip. Glad you got some sun and heat as that has not been the case here! Safe travels home.
    Love, Robin

  4. Another bunch of great photos. Especially loved the close up of the kangaroo and Val matching the very grave look of the Aboriginal carvings.

  5. Thank you for this travel channel exclusive!!! Beautiful photos. I will call you when and if we ever get a chance to go there!!!

    Am sure you are safe at home in Friday Harbor and preparing for knee surgery. You are in our thoughts. Love you, J & D

  6. Wonderful images and messages! Is that old square rigger a replica of Captain Cook’s? Looked like it might be. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Australia from you, Dick Beidleman, and Bill and Weezie. We’ve got it on our list for our next go around. Much love — Ric and Dorry

  7. Hey you guys,
    Where did that shot of the sailboat race come from?

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